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What to watch and do on International Whores Day (June 2, 2014)

International Whores’ Day —also referred to as International Sex Workers’ Day–has been celebrated on June 2nd each year since 1976. The day honors all sex workers. The event commemorates the occupation of Église Saint-Nizier in Lyon by more than a hundred prostitutes on 2 June 1975 to draw attention to their situation. Given this history, many take the day as a moment to recognize that sex workers often face poor working conditions, and to consider how to make radical change.PutaCampaignJune2_2014 Each year in the spirit of Gabriela’s reclaiming of the word “puta,” A Kiss for Gabriela provides you with our suggestions about what to watch to honor the day and what you might do to support the whores, putas and sex workers in your community.

This year our film recommendation for your viewing pleasure is Somaly Uh Uh (Bad Rehab extended remix). Danceable yet incredibly powerful, this song and animated video is a five minute primer about the real issues for sex workers who are forced into rehabilitation centers in South East Asia- and the devastation wrought by the anti-trafficking “rescue industry.” At the end of May 2014, a leading luminary of the “rescue industry” Cambodia’s Somaly Mam resigned from the leadership of her non-profit organization which had profited handsomely while engaging in  very, very “bad rehabilitation” of sex workers, detaining them without food and medicine, and which had promoted bad policies that made life much harder for sex workers in the region. Melissa Gira in an excellent Op Ed that appeared in the NY Times on May 29 asks us to consider, what is the price of the “sex slave rescue fantasy” that Somaly peddled to wealthy liberals and conservatives alike, including Hollywood’s elite who stacked her fundaisers and threw cash into campaigns that undermine the freedom and rights of people in sex work. If you happen to rub shoulders with Susan Sarandon and Nicholas Kristoff, we recommend that your June 2 action be to dial their digits and ask them to now direct their support to one of the multitude of rights based organizations working for justice. They could take a heart from Laverne Cox’s beautiful and timely call to support Monica Jones during a gala event organized by GLAAD. You can be glamorous and do the right thing, here’s looking at all of you in Hollywood to change your ways this June 2, 2014.

Additionally this June 2 the “putas of Niteró” still need your support as they fight back to defend their work spaces, homes and safety as police converge to “clean up” their area as we approach the World Cup in Brazil. If you are in Rio de Janeiro, A Kiss for Gabriela recommends attending one of the many events organized for the “Mega Dia Internacional das Prostitutas” by DASPU and Davida. If you are not in Brazil today then please take a moment to tweet, write and raise awareness of the effects of policing in Niteroí. La luta continua!


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